Democrats carry close governor races on abortion, democracy

Nov 8, 2022, 11:40 PM | Updated: Nov 10, 2022, 8:46 am
Reelected New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham speaks to supporters during the celebration party ...

Reelected New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham speaks to supporters during the celebration party in Albuquerque, N.M., Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. The Democrat incumbent beat Republican candidate Mark Ronchetti. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

(AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

              Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers takes photos with teachers and students at Georgia O'Keeffe Middle School in Madison, Wisc., on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. The newly reelected governor beat out Republican candidate Tim Michels in what has been a hotly contested race. (AP Photo/Harm Venhuizen)
              Democrats Aruna Miller, left, and Wes Moore react during an election night gathering after Miller was declared the winner in the race for the Maryland lieutenant governor and Moore was declared the winner in the gubernatorial race, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
              Reelected New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham speaks to supporters during the celebration party in Albuquerque, N.M., Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. The Democrat incumbent beat Republican candidate Mark Ronchetti. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
              Massachusetts Gov.-elect Maura Healey speaks during a Democratic election night party Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats held onto a string of competitive governors’ seats in the midterm elections after making the case to voters that Republican challengers posed a threat to abortion rights and democracy in their states.

The wins by Democrats in more than half a dozen states came despite Republican efforts to blame the party in power for problems like inflation and rising crime and national headwinds that were expected to favor the GOP.

Of the 36 governors’ races being decided in Tuesday’s elections, Democrats flipped Massachusetts and Maryland, and it was too early to say Wednesday whether they could win control of the Arizona governor’s office for the first time since 2006.

Elsewhere in the West, Republicans were hoping to win back control of the Nevada governor’s mansion, which they lost in 2018 after a two-decade hold, and were vying for an upset in deep-blue Oregon, where a surprisingly close race could put a Republican in the top job for the first time in 40 years.

Going into the elections, the GOP held a 28-22 edge in governors’ seats.

The winners of this year’s election will be in power during the 2024 presidential election and could shape their state’s voting laws or play a role in certifying the election results. And with the U.S. Supreme Court ending the national right to an abortion this summer, governors have even more power regarding whether and how that right exists in their state.

Democrats who held onto their seats in competitive contests made a point of highlighting both issues in their victory speeches and framing their wins as a sign those concerns galvanized voters.

“Tonight New Mexico said ‘no’ to a political crusade that wants to turn women into second-class citizens,” the state’s Democratic governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, told supporters in Albuquerque late Tuesday night.

“You showed up because you saw our democracy was on the brink of existence and you decided to do a damn thing about it,” Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers declared.

In battleground Arizona, it was too early to call a race pitting Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who defended the state’s 2020 election results, against Republican former television news anchor Kari Lake, who said she would not have certified the results.

Hobbs, who gained prominence for defending Arizona’s 2020 election results showing President Joe Biden’s victory in the state, was leading. Lake gained national attention as a breakout GOP star known for her combative style on the campaign trail and ease in front of the cameras.

In Nevada, where Republican Joe Lombardo was seeking to oust one-term Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, the winner was not expected to be known for several days. The battleground state was a rare spot where Democrats, rather than Republicans, tried to put the spotlight on crime rates, blaming staffing decisions by Lombardo, the Las Vegas-area sheriff. Lombardo countered by pointing to legislation passed by Democrats in the state legislature that he deemed “soft-on-crime.”

Sisolak sought to make abortion access part of his campaign, while Lombardo said he would govern from a “pro-life lens.”

In Kansas, Gov. Laura Kelly had been expected to have a tough race as the only Democratic governor running for reelection this year in a state that Trump won two years ago.

But Kelly won a second term by defeating Republican Derek Schmidt, who tried to link her to Biden and high inflation. Though Kelly did not emphasize her support for abortion rights in her campaign, she was likely buoyed by a statewide vote in August affirming abortion rights.

The U.S. will now have the largest number of female governors serving at one time, with 12 women set to lead states in 2023. Ten women were declared winners of gubernatorial races on Tuesday, and Oregon will elect a woman in either Democrat Tina Kotek or Republican Christine Drazan. Massachusetts, New York and Arkansas will be led by women for the first time.

Massachusetts voters elected Democrat Maura Healey, who put the governor’s office back in Democratic hands for the first time in eight years and will become the country’s first openly lesbian candidate to be elected governor.

Sarah Sanders was elected Arkansas governor, becoming the first woman to lead that state. The former White House press secretary will assume the office once held by her father, Mike Huckabee.

Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul won election in New York, becoming the first woman elected to the post she took over in 2021 after former Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned after facing sexual harassment allegations, which he denied.

Voters also made history in Maryland, electing Wes Moore, seen as a Democratic rising star, as that state’s first Black governor. Moore is only the third Black politician elected governor in the United States after Virginia’s Douglas Wilder in 1989 and Deval Patrick of Massachusetts in 2006.

Republican incumbents in Texas and Georgia fended off Democratic stars who attracted national attention but fell short with voters in their states. Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke lost to Gov. Greg Abbott in red-state Texas, while Stacey Abrams lost again to Gov. Brian Kemp in Georgia, a rematch from 2018.

Several governors seen as potential 2024 presidential candidates cemented expected wins.

Republican Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Kristi Noem of South Dakota won reelection, as did California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, both Democrats.

DeSantis, one of the GOP’s biggest stars, had a commanding win in Florida as his party deepened its hold on the former swing state.

The governor, who is widely seen as former President Donald Trump’s most formidable challenger if he runs in 2024, said in a victory speech that his win was a triumph in a culture war against a liberal “woke agenda.”

“We fight the woke in the Legislature. We fight the woke in the schools. We fight the woke in the corporations. We will never, ever surrender to the woke mob. Florida is where woke goes to die,” DeSantis said. He wrapped up his speech by declaring: “I have only begun to fight.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Protesters hold up blank white papers during a commemoration for victims of a recent Urumqi deadly ...
Associated Press

Chinese university students sent home amid protests

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese universities are sending students home as the ruling Communist Party tightens anti-virus controls and tries to prevent more protests after crowds angered by its severe “zero COVID” restrictions called for President Xi Jinping to resign in the biggest show of public dissent in decades. With police out in force, there was […]
23 hours ago
South Carolina Rep. Jerry Govan, D-Orangeburg, looks over a map during a House redistricting commit...
Associated Press

S. Carolina’s US House maps under scrutiny because of race

TO MOVE AT 1 AM EST TUESDAY. EDITED by LJAW; BACKREAD by JSC. A trial to determine whether South Carolina’s congressional maps are legal closes Tuesday with arguments over whether the state Legislature diluted Black voting power by remaking the boundaries of the only U.S. House district Democrats have flipped in more than 30 years. […]
23 hours ago
FILE - This photo provided by the Missouri Department of Corrections shows Kevin Johnson.  A federa...
Associated Press

Missouri prepares to execute man for killing officer in 2005

FOR MOVEMENT TUESDAY AT 1 AM ET. EDITED BY CBLAKE. A Missouri inmate convicted of ambushing and killing a St. Louis area police officer he blamed in the death of his younger brother was scheduled to be executed Tuesday, though his lawyers are seeking to have the lethal injection halted. Kevin Johnson’s legal team doesn’t […]
23 hours ago
Lava pours out of the summit crater of Mauna Loa about 6:35 a.m. Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, as seen fro...
Associated Press

EXPLAINER: What hazards are posed by Hawaii’s Mauna Loa?

HONOLULU (AP) — Lava is shooting 100 feet to 200 feet (30 to 60 meters) into the air as Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano, erupts for the first time in nearly 40 years. For now, lava is not threatening any homes or communities and no evacuation orders have been issued. Lava could […]
23 hours ago
Associated Press

Monday’s Scores

BOYS PREP BASKETBALL= Elma 81, Aberdeen 40 Fife 58, Chief Leschi 53 Lake Stevens 72, Marysville-Pilchuck 52 North Thurston 72, Foster 39 Stanwood 52, Kamiak 51 Sumner 86, Hazen 38 Tahoma 77, Mount Tahoma 58 Todd Beamer 69, Puyallup 61 ___ Some high school basketball scores provided by, Copyright © The Associated Press. […]
23 hours ago
Associated Press

Monday’s Scores

GIRLS PREP BASKETBALL= Bellevue 71, Cedarcrest 51 Capital 53, Shelton 33 Enumclaw 63, Rogers (Puyallup) 42 Kamiak 79, Mount Vernon 30 La Conner 50, Squalicum 23 Lake Washington 71, Everett 30 Lakewood 59, Marysville-Pilchuck 22 Mariner 43, Marysville-Getchell 36 Monroe 71, Ingraham 29 Nooksack Valley 73, Archbishop Murphy 55 Sumner 64, Steilacoom 22 Todd Beamer […]
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
Democrats carry close governor races on abortion, democracy